A shoulder blade is a flat, large triangular-shaped bone at the rear part of the shoulder, and is also known as the scapula. The shoulder blade is positioned over the second up to the the seventh rib on each side of the back, and it is a component of the pectoral girdle that helps connect the arm to the chest area. It connects the humerus which is the arm bone, with the clavicle, known as collar bone. The scapula has a large area for muscle attachment. There are 18 muscles that are attached to the scapula; they are attached either by insertion or by origin points. The injuries to these areas are in the form of pulled muscles, due to a large number of muscles that are attached to it. If a scapula is injured or broken it is a severe sign of trauma.
A broken shoulder blade can be caused by direct pain that involves a large amount of force or violence. There are common causes of a broken shoulder blade:
- Vehicular accidents
- Falling from a tree or anywhere that hits your shoulders
- Falling onto an outstretched arm
- A direct pain from a baseball bat or hammer or anything hard that hits your shoulders
Symptoms of a broken shoulder blade
- There is swelling, pain and bruising over the shoulder blade
- There is pain in moving the arm
- Difficulty in lifting the arm
- There is pain with each breath caused by the movement of the chest wall with each breath, and this movement makes the shoulder blade to move and causes pain
- The shoulders looks flattened and deformed
Treatment of broken shoulder blade
- First thing to do is to control the bleeding. If there is bleeding, apply steady and direct pressure with a clean cloth or bandage for 15 minutes. If the blood seeps through the cloth, put another cloth over the first.
- Make a sling to support the affected arm, put a triangular bandage beneath it and over the unaffected shoulder, and then tie it adjacent to the neck.
- Treat the symptoms by applying ice to the injury to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Provide the individual with over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol) for relieving pain.
Aside from the first aid measures that you can perform, there are ways to prevent the injury from occurring in the first place.
Broken shoulder blades can be prevented by avoiding activities like:
- Activities with dangers in causing a fall like rock climbing, hand-gliding, or skydiving
- Contact sports like football, baseball, and basketball
- Driving a vehicle without seatbelts
A physical therapy for a broken shoulder blade is very important because it helps regain the mobility of the joints, and preventing condition like “frozen shoulder” from happening. It also helps strengthen the shoulder and preventing future injuries and will restore proper mobility in the areas of the arm.